6 Exercises to Help Your Knees Stay Pain-free

arab228

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Aug 20, 2012
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Etty Griffin, M.D., staff orthopedist at Peachtree Orthopedic Clinic, Atlanta says, “It’s pretty important to be careful not to overuse or abuse your knees”. Too much too fast walking, running or excessive knee-bending can cause stresses on the tissue around the knee. “Any exercise with rigorous knee bending like ‘Tae-bo’ can also be harmful to the knee”, adds Griffin. According to John Jay Wooldridge, Reebok master trainer, an unevenly balanced workout plan can also induce a lot of stress on the knees and related joints. When fitness walking, an imbalance is caused around the tissue as some muscles are not at all used, and some are overused. This sort of imbalance can be pretty stressful for the joints. However, knee pains can be removed. Through cross-training, stretching and strengthening knee problems can be avoided. As per Griffin, all knee pains caused from overuse can be removed with ice therapy, rest and controlled exercises. Here are 6 important exercises to help keep your knees pain-free. Wooldridge advises to do these exercises 2-3 times a week for a better result. He strongly recommends doing this routine following a gentle body warm-up such as a walk. Straight Leg Lift Procedure: Lie on back with the left knee bent, left foot flat on floor, and right leg straight and extended. Then contract the right thigh muscles to straighten the knee, do not lock it. Raise the leg slowly until both knees become parallel. Then lower the leg. This process is to be repeated 10-12 times, with 2 sets on each knee. Target: This exercise targets Quadriceps and hip flexors. It complements the walking motion and works muscles like smaller quadriceps muscles of the thigh, which are underused. Advancement: Try holding the up position for a 35 count. Wall Sit Procedure: First, put an exercise ball of 25 inches resting against a wall. Stand with lower back against the exercise ball. Keep a shoulder-width distance between the two feet and maintain a comfortable distance between your feet and the wall. Then slowly lower your body and bend your knees until thighs become parallel to the floor. The knees should be above the feet, not in front of feet. The abs (abdominal muscles) are to be contracted in order to avoid excessive sway in the back. Take a pause at the bottom and roll back up. Repeat this process about 10-12 times, with 2 sets. Target: It targets the hamstrings, gluteal muscles, quadriceps and abs. It can also be a lower-intensity alternative to lunges and squats. Advancement: You can enhance the pause period at the bottom up to 3, 5 or even 10 counts. Bridge Procedure: Lie flat on back, arms by sides, palms up. Bend both knees with feet flat on floor. Lift trunk and hips off floor with a slow, smooth and controlled motion. Use your abs and gluteal muscles simultaneously. Squeeze buttocks at the top and lower. Remember, while doing this you need to put pressure on shoulders rather than head. Do not push with the hands. Lower slightly and relieve tightening in case there is cramping in the hamstrings. Continue doing this 8-12 times, work up to 2 sets. Target: It targets trunk, hamstrings, glute, lower back and the abs. Advancement: Hold the up for a 35 count. Single Calf Raise Procedure: Support your entire body against a wall. Maybe you can use a chair for this. Then, lift the right leg into a hamstring curl where your shin would remain parallel to ground. Extend your left ankle to stand on the toes. Lower slowly. Continue up to 10-12 times. Finishing stretch: Keeping the left leg straight and the left heel on the ground, step forward with the right leg for a kind of calf stretch. Pause up to 6-8 slow and deep breaths. Repeat on the other side (2 sets per side). Target: It enhances ankle stability, calf strength, body coordination and balance. Advancement: You can add a third set by placing your hands on the hips. Quadriceps Stretch Procedure: Lie sidewise with the hips and shoulders stacked. Pull the top foot and the top hand towards the buttocks. Pull until you feel the gentle stretch, not pain. For better grip you can use a towel. Then, pull the top knee back behind the other one, with the knees in alignment and stacked hip. Pause for 6-8 slow, deep breaths. The process is to be repeated 2-3 times on each side. Target: This exercise targets hip flexors and quadriceps. Modified Hurdlers Stretch Procedure: When seated, stretch one leg straight (don’t lock the knee) and place the other foot’s bottom against that knee. Lower the torso slowly towards the straight leg, maintaining the shoulders and hips square and back straight. Remember not to collapse through the chest. Stretch the inner thigh by putting gentle pressure on the bent leg. Hold up to 6-8 deep and slow breaths. Repeat this for 2-3 times on each side. Target: It targets lower back, gluteal muscles and hamstrings. Below, we have listed some of the expert tips to help keep your knees healthy. Tips for Healthy Knees See a doctor if the pain does not reduce for several days of ice, massage and rest. Do not do knee-bending exercises that cause pain and stay away from activities like walking hills. Build sufficient muscle strength in areas like quads, glutes, ankles and hamstrings. Warm up before beginning stretching and stretch adequately. Avoid locking knees while doing squats, leg presses or lunges. Use low weights. Wear appropriate shoes. Take proper arch support when you feet roll in. Do 2-3 activities regularly. What NOT to Do for Healthy Knees Never exercise through pain. Do not overdo unfamiliar activities. Never exaggerate your steps, overarch your back, or lock knees while walking. Do not straighten legs fully when doing exercises on an elliptical trainer, exercise bike or stair climber. When pregnant, do not overextend knees. Never stop exercises due to pain without talking to your doctor. Proper posture, torso strength and overall stability are most important, never forget this. About Author Flex Harvey is a fitness freak who loves to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Besides himself following a healthy regime, he inspires others too to stay fit and healthy. He is very particular about the health of his joints and uses joint health supplements like Flex Protex and Flex Protex D to maintain strong bones, flexible cartilages and healthy joints. Flex says, a healthy body is the index of a healthy mind, and these health supplements help pave your way to your ideal fitness.
 
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